The Sick, Lame & Lazy

Saturday Aug. 14, 1943

6:50 p.m.


Dear folks,

Well here I am back and able to write tonight. I hope I didn’t scare you and cause you to worry but the muscles in my wrist and hand last night were really knotted up and stiff. They are still sore but feel a whole lot better and by Monday it will be O.K. again. I was up at the usual time yesterday morning and dressed and out for reveille. After reveille I made my bed and swept before breakfast. I had scrambled eggs, toast, butter, milk, and Rice Krispies and grapes. After breakfast I changed to my fatigues and Freese & I went out a little early and played tennis until 7. Then we had calisthenics for 20 minutes followed by touch feetball. That’s where I smashed up my hand. I really still don’t see how it could happen. A fellow threw me the ball but instead of ahead of me it went behind me. I jumped but by reaching backward I was off balance and when the ball hit my hand it just bent it over backwards. It hurt some but I didn’t think it was too bad. Of course we had our cross country run at 8. I did the first 5/8’s or so in quick time. Then I slowed down and came in in 11:28. Then I took a shower and redressed for class at 9. At 9 we went to Physics and did some problems on the board. At 10 we went to English and spent the hour discussing a story. At 11 we went to chow but I can’t remember what we had. I stretched out until 12 when we went to Algebra. We had a little quiz and I got a 10 (perfect) on the one we got back. At 1 we went to Trig. and did problems. At 2 we had History. For Mon. our assignments are tests in Trig & history, a story to read for English, probs. for Algebra & a test Wed. and of course study Physics. At 3 we went to study. My hand had been getting stiffer feeling all day so I dashed off that note so you’d get a letter and know what was what. I didn’t know but what it might get worse so maybe I couldn’t write and I wanted you prepared. As it turned out it wasn’t that bad and I hope I didn’t worry you but [by] making that letter so short and cut off so to speak but I could hardly hang on to the pencil. I finished it during study and mailed it when I went to chow. At 4 we came back and I took it easy until mail call. I got a letter from Bart. No ratings out there yet. He expects to be reclassified to 1-A by Aug. 15. From what he says I guess nobody out there is getting a discharge which is what I expected. At 5:15 I went to chow but I can’t remember what I had. After eating I generally took it easy or loafed until we went to study at 7. I took my chem. book along and spent the 2 hrs. on chem. studying for today’s test. At 9 I came back and went to bed at 9:30. I didn’t sleep too well for some reason. Maybe it was because my wrist ached quite a bit. I was up at 5:15 and dressed for reveille. I made my bed and swept before breakfast. My hand was plenty lame but felt a little better. For breakfast I had toast, butter, Rice Krispies, milk, and grapefruit. After eating I signed up for sick call. Then at 7 I went to Chem. I didn’t have to since I was on sick call but I could write and I didn’t want to miss the test. The test was pretty rugged and there were a few questions that I didn’t know the answers to but I used my head and reasoned them out. So far as I know I got them all right. It makes one feel good to be able to reason something out which he hasn’t memorized. At 8 I came back here and went over with the sick, lame & lazy to sick call. The Doc felt my wrist over and decided it was just a sprain so he gave me some stuff to rub on it and had me keep it under a heat lamp for ½ hour. I missed Military and part of Physics lecture. I got back here at 9:15 and signed in. Then I took my books and went to what was left of Physics class. At 10 I went to study and did my chem. probs. for next Sat. At 11 we went to chow – potatoes, salad, beets, bread, butter, milk and bananas & cream. After eating I came back and dusted my bed and the window. Then I shaved and cleaned my teeth. After that I shined my shoes and took a shower. Then I swept. I still had time before inspection so I sorted and packed my dirty laundry. By then it was 1:30 so I dressed and waited for inspection. It took about 45 minutes and our room is always last. Then we fell out downstairs for the results & mail call. The inspection was O.K. I opened the laundry and then read your letter. The clothes are all present, accounted for and swell looking. How’d you ever get the shorts so clean? The candy and peanuts are always appreciated you know. I wondered what could be in the bottom and I was glad to find my shoes. He did a swell job. I have them on now. After reading your letter and sorting my clean laundry I finished tying up the dirty stuff. You’ll find about 5 prs. of socks, 5 hankies, 3 sets of underwear, 3 towels, 1 wash rag, 1 t-shirt, 3 sun tan shirts and 2 prs. of pants so you’ll have a full size wash this time. Both shirts are G.I. but you’ve never washed either one before I think. At least you’ve never washed the new one I know. When I got it tied up I put away my clean stuff and Freese and I started for town. I mailed the package and it was 54 cents this time. Then we had a limeade and went on down to the U.S.O. I found some picture cards there to send to folks and we played some records and when a table was free we played ping pong. My wrist bothered a little but I won the first 3 games and lost the last 4. We headed back then and got back at about 5:30 for chow. The temperature downtown was 100 degrees. For supper I had potato salad, cabbage, salad, biscuits, butter, and jello. After eating we came back here and here I am. When I came back I got pretty mad. Two of our roommates borrowed our rackets & played tennis. Mine came back with ½ dozen snapped strings. They were getting loose I knew and it was a cheap racket but still it seemed like they must have played a rugged game. I said a few words, maybe too many and then shut up. A few minutes [later] the guy came in with a new racket just like the old one so I have another new one. That was sort of an expensive game for him and maybe I should quietly have accepted it but I guess I ain’t built that way or something. That about covers the situation. It’s 8 now and the Hit Parade is on. It’s just dusk and its noticeable now that the days are shortening especially when we go out for reveille. Right now you’d probably say I have chicken pocks [sp] or somepin’ because my chest is all splotched with heat rash but I guess that’s all it is. I have always sweated a lot but never so much as this summer. There is a possibility that we may be here the whole 18 months supposing we pass from term to term on thru advanced because the new men are coming in and they are all advanced engineers. I am not crazy about the idea but then I could be in a lot worse places than Arkansas I guess. If I do move  out of here for advanced, that is if I stay that long, the chances are I’ll get someplace nearer home or at least on better routes of travel but then I might be sent to Cal. or Utah or some place like that so I’ll be thankful for Arkansas. No new dope on furloughs except a flat statement that there will be no passes so we can leave early. One of the Lewies has gone to see the Bus. Co. about chartering buses to St. Louis & Kansas City. If I take the bus to St. Louis, I’d have to get a round trip there to Lansing. Then when I get back to St. Louis I’ll have to buy a ticket to Fayetteville. I don’t know a heck of a lot about arranging that stuff. We went into the bus station today but I don’t intend to go all the way by bus so I didn’t get any information. I didn’t go to the depot because I know pretty well the story. It leaves here at 8 p.m. and you hit Chicago at 2:30 the next afternoon. Mark Andersen, one of my roommates, is going to Lansing too so I think we’ll stick together on the way. He lives in St. Louis Mich. but his folks are going to meet him in Lansing. Of course maybe at the last minute they’ll change it and we can catch the train earlier and take off. With the uncertainty of things as they are though I really don’t recommend Pop’s coming down. I don’t know for positive just how it will turn out and I’d hate to have a last minute change throw us off and I don’t want to lose any time if I can help it. Now to your Wed. letter. I have been wearing my fatigues for P.T. Now we hear we get exams during the last meeting of each class. No kidding you never saw so many rumors of one kind or another in your life as float around here. Latest latrine-o-gram says we L.S.’ers go to Chaffee next Sat. or Mon. I’m not sure which but I’m not counting on it. And I’m not in the least expecting a discharge. Forget about Fri. We won’t even get out on Sat. Sept 4 as it stands until midnight. I doubt if Pop would have to cross town in Chicago. Most of the trains come into the same station. I’ve been thinking about it too. It’s as hot as I say all right as he will find if he comes down. Of course it’s late summer now and ought to cool off pretty soon. He can come on the campus all he wants but don’t let him start asking because he’d never find me that way. I live in Davis Hall which is on the corner of Maple St. & Hill St. I think. Anyway its on the northwest corner of the campus. You can’t miss the campus. Just turn right from the depot and follow your nose up the hill. When he gets in town he can call 9668 between 6 and 7 p.m. or 4 to 5 p.m. but let me know about what day to expect him. This is of course if he comes but I really am not in favor of him coming down with things as uncertain as they are. Maybe we can come back together or if that doesn’t work either he can slip down some weekend next term and we can have nearly 2 days together. I know it’s a disappointment to him & me too but I guess nobody know what to expect from the army. I have decided after 7 ½ months that prediction is impossible. That mile & a half causes plenty of side aches every time. We have fried chicken often but it ain’t like the chicken Mom use to turn out. I am tired of the same old stuff all the time. I’d like a light refreshing meal for a change. I see I’m down to 148 ½ pounds now. The latrine is swell tile and I’m not the only one who occasionally uses it for study. I couldn’t send my suntans last Sunday because I didn’t have any paper. The train just whistled so it’s 50 minutes late tonight. I got a kick where you said the State Repr. Son’s father. That’s like saying Mrs. Forists son’s mother. I got a letter from Fred about a month ago that I should answer. I wonder if he is still at Bay View. As an Engineer I’ll be a flop maybe but let them find that out. You know I said the other night that the longer we are here the longer we’ll be in the army. Today there is a bulletin on the board saying many competent men have turned down A.S.T.P. due to the talk that we will be in from 3 to 5 years after the war. The memo came from 8th Service Command Hq. in Dallas and said that ASTP graduates will absolutely be kept in service no longer that anyone else, all of which still is very indefinite. I guess we were sabotaging the program by spreading such malicious rumors. I personally can’t see any of us getting out 6 mos. afterwards but I hope that will be it. How can you 2 handle that range? Well that answers your letter I guess. I didn’t go to a show tonight because one was not very good sounding & the other I had already seen. Its 9:05 now and Benny Goodman is now coming on. Tomorrow I should study History and some other stuff but I don’t know how much I’ll get done. When the week end rolls around I feel pretty lazy about studying. I lack that old spirit I used to have once upon a time. I intended to have this letter cover 2 days but its long enough now so I’ll cut it off and write a separate one tomorrow. So for Sat. night I’ll say so long and sign off.


Love to all


E.H.S. ‘42

M.S.C. ‘46

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